It was amazing to me how much of a difference 10 days makes. During the previous inspection, I'd thought Buttercup and Persephone looked so-so at best. But they proved me wrong and had exploded. In fact, all the hives looked fantastic. Elsa had so many bars of pollen that I had to remove a few to make room for honey and brood.
|A bar from Persephone, I think. Nothing wrong with that!|
|Bar of pollen|
Peach and Persephone were just starting to make swarm cells (queen cups with some eggs in them), so I made two splits from them.
J's split had a queen and lots of eggs. I'll watch the queen for a few weeks, but then it should be ready to pass on to him.
B's split was kind of curious. There were eggs and larvae in there, but there shouldn't be a queen. But the eggs looked like viable eggs that a queen would lay. Not a lot of bees or brood, though. So strange...
The other hives looked like they were going to start swarming soon, too.
The weather broke overnight this week. We went from endless rainy days in the 50's and 60's, to blazing sunny 90's. Although I'd planned to inspect the hives on Wednesday and then Thursday, something kept coming up. In a way I'm glad. I probably would've ended up with heat stroke. When I finally inspected on Friday, I had to start at 8:30 in the morning in order to beat the worst of the heat.
The hives that have been split (Peach, Hippolyte, and Persephone) are bursting with honey. The other hives (Buttercup, Elsa, and Austeja) are bursting with bees. Buttercup was just starting to make swarm cells, so she got a split as well.
|Swarm cell from Peach. |
Recently capped so it might be another week or so before the queen emerges.
This one has been puzzling me, since I've seen bees coming and going, but there are hardly any bees inside. A quick peek inside showed a teeny cluster of bees that must've stayed behind when the previous install absconded. It also revealed.... brood??? Yep, capped brood, larvae, eggs... What the heck??? Beyond curious, I opened it and found that the bees had raised their own queen. A very sad, tiny thing, but she was there laying eggs. I knew bees were resilient, but wow!
Anyway, I don't think those bees are going to survive without a lot of help, and I just don't have the time/resources to do that. Instead, I communicated with B, and the plan is to pinch that queen (sorry) and install a shook swarm from Austeja in her. Austeja has 2 empty bars left, so she desperately needs some thinning out.
|Just what in Sam heck do they think they're doing?|
Elsa is not quite at the point of making swarm cells, but she's close. I guess she'll be ready in about 2 weeks. Meanwhile, she seems to be interested in clearing some space out in her roof. There was a huge hole. Not sure if the hole was made by a mouse or bees, but a handful of bees was very busily yanking at the insulation. Michael Palmer says bees hate duct tape, so I used it for "repairs." We shall see.
|Words to live by|
I should've checked whether Hippolyte had a queen yet, but I didn't because she was so pissy. To calm her down, I've decided split make 3-4 splits from her and give each one a bar with swarm cells.
She has a swarm cell that looks pretty polished, so her queen should emerge any day now. Should have some eggs by the middle of the first to second week of June.
|Queen cell from Persephone|
Black cherries, centaurea, honeysuckle, alliums, strawberries, and buckeyes have been blooming for awhile, and I'm just beginning to see white and red clover. My radishes and spinach are starting to bolt, too.
Overall, the blooms this year have been quite disappointing. The late cold spell we got must have killed a lot of buds. All the gardeners I know have been complaining about a lack of flowers on their trees and shrubs. It's a little frustrating because we had an amazing spring flow the last couple of years, but this is probably why I'm still interested in bees. I can never count on things to work out the same way twice, so they keep me on my toes.